Special Projects Fund

Project Title

Establishing On-Site Pharmacy Access at a Community Health Center

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

April 17, 2009








Lack of access to pharmacy services is a particular problem for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities and people living with HIV/AIDS.

In addition to being unable to afford medications, many of these patients feel stigmatized or judged in health care settings. Numerous studies have found that pharmaceutical access within a multidisciplinary care team improves coordination of care for a patient, increases the patient’s ability to adhere to a prescribed treatment course, and improves health outcomes. In 2007, the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center (CLCHC) found that its membership in the 340B Drug Pricing Program, a Federal program which allows health centers to offer deeply discounted medications to their patients, was being underutilized; only 10-15% of its 44,000 patients were using the designated off-site community retail pharmacy to fill prescriptions. In May 2009, NYHealth awarded CLCHC a grant to establish an on-site integrated pharmacy to improve health care outcomes and increase medication adherence among the underserved populations reached through CLCHC’s primary care and related services.

Callen-Lorde provides comprehensive primary medical services, a continuum of integrated HIV/AIDS care, mental health services, an oral health clinic, case management/care coordination, and an adolescent program. Numerous studies have demonstrated that integrating a pharmacist into a multi-disciplinary care team improves care coordination and medication adherence; bringing pharmacy services under one roof and fully integrating them into the care model will produce better outcomes.

The purpose of this project was to establish on-site integrated pharmacy services to improve care outcomes and increase medication adherence. While Callen-Lorde had participated in the Federal pharmacy program that provides significant savings on pharmaceuticals, only 10% of patients used the designated community retail pharmacy and many patients failed to fill prescriptions once they left the center’s premises, owing to confidentiality concerns and stigma. Through this project, Callen-Lorde was able to take advantage of a Federal program, known as the 340B Drug PricingProgram, which allows health centers to offer deeply discounted medications to their patients, to establish an on-site pharmacy.

Read a white paper from Callen-Lorde describing the factors that other health centers should consider in deciding whether to establish an on-site pharmacy, and detailing the sort of planning and financial projections that are required to succeed in bringing a concept to reality.